Make Textbooks Affordable

Everyone knows that textbooks prices are outrageous. Students spend an average of $1,200 a year on textbooks and course materials, and prices have been rising more than for times the rate of inflation for the past two decades!

It’s no accident that textbooks are so expensive. Publishing companies are raking in huge profits while engaging in bad practices that drive up costs: issuing new editions that make used books hard to find, bundling textbooks with unnecessary CDs and pass-codes, and more. They get away with it because students don’t have a choice -- we’ve got to buy the book they’re selling, even if the price is outrageous.

The good news is that we're making progress. Students can save hundreds through discounted options like renting, used books and bookswaps on campus.  

The real momentum comes from lasting solutions like open-source textbooks, which could literally revolutionize the textbook market by offering free online access and reducing costs up to 80%. Open source textbooks are faculty-written and peer reviewed just like published textbooks, but they're available free online, free to download, and affordable in print.

So we're fighting to rein in costs by promoting cost-saving solutions on campus, while also tackling publishers' stranglehold on the market to change prices for good.  We're educating students, faculty and bookstores, and raising awareness through research and the media. We're also calling on publishers, colleges and foundations to give faculty the training and resources they need to adopt open-source textbooks and save students millions each year.

QUESTIONS? Contact Our National Campaign Staff here.

Issue updates

Media Hit | Textbooks

Open Textbooks: The Current State of Play

Use of open textbooks, one form of OER, is gaining traction across different types of colleges and universities, and the catalog of OER textbooks continues to expand.

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Media Hit | Textbooks

The Death of Textbooks?

Artificially intelligent software is reshaping traditional teaching materials—but it's unclear what the new technology will take away from the learning experience.

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Media Hit | Textbooks

Student Groups Pressure Colleges Over the Insane Cost of Textbooks

Students can spend $1,300 per year on textbooks, but online textbooks could ease that burden, a new analysis finds

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Media Hit | Higher Ed, Textbooks

Putting a Dent in College Costs With Open-Source Textbooks

College students could save an average of $128 a course if traditional textbooks were replaced with free or low-cost “open-source” electronic versions, a new report finds.

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Report | CALPIRG and other Student PIRGs | Textbooks

Open Textbooks - The Billion Dollar Solution

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